Thank you, media. You are forcing the immediate shutdown of 7 of Germany’s 17 nuclear plants (41%), two of them permanently within a year or two. You’ve stopped two new Swiss power plants in their tracks. New plants within the US (none have been built in thirty years) will also likely be put on hold, despite perhaps being one thing that Obama has done right.
While Libya’s people are being slaughtered, Yemen is in revolt, and Bahrain has its own riots, all I hear about are the gloom and doom of nuclear catastrophe.
Japan’s Fukushima power plants are in deep trouble, no doubt. I commend the brave workers who are trying to contain the disaster there (and, yes, it is a disaster). But there have not been and won’t be any nuclear explosions. When the talking heads mention “1,000 times normal radiation,” they don’t mention that it has been brief and only within the confines of the plant. Nor do they mention that “normal” is what anybody would be exposed to naturally any day of the week. Nor are they quite explicit that the explosions that have happened at the plant are due to build-up of flammable gas (admittedly, produced by the situation), not any actual nuclear explosion.
To put things in perspective, the USGS puts the equivalent of Japan’s 9.0 (Richter scale) earthquake at the power of 25,000 nuclear bombs. THAT was natural. Earth’s work, not Man’s.
Japan has experience: Nagasaki’s atomic bomb would have rated a 5.0 (474 tons of TNT). The 1906 San Francisco quake would have rated 8.0 (15 megatons). 9.0 is equivalent to 474 megatons of TNT.
What the media SHOULD be commenting on is that despite the greatest natural disaster in 250 years (Lisbon earthquake, 1755), and resulting failures of perhaps three backup systems, this nuclear plant may be in dire straits but has not contributed a whit to the devastation of nature.